Sam Hamad surveys his support at Quebec City Hall

(Quebec) Former Liberal minister Sam Hamad met with several opposition elected officials in the Quebec city council to test the waters for a possible candidacy against Bruno Marchand for town hall.


Posted at 1:33 a.m.

Updated at 5:00 a.m.

For months, Sam Hamad has remained unclear about his intentions for the 2025 municipal elections. At most, the former minister responsible for the National Capital says he is in reflection. His thoughts are, however, fueled by discussions with several opposition municipal councilors.

According to our information, Mr. Hamad requested interviews with at least three elected officials from the official opposition, Quebec first, the former political party of Régis Labeaume. He also met the second opposition, Équipe priority Québec. The meetings took place last winter.

The former Liberal would have notably gauged their interest in leaving their party to make the jump with him to the next elections in a new team under his leadership.

According to a Source familiar with the discussions, Mr. Hamad would seek to set up his “dream team”, his dream team, with a view to the municipal elections of November 2, 2025.

He does not intend to join one of the three opposition parties represented on the municipal council, several sources explained. He instead wants to create a new formation, like what Bruno Marchand did to win in 2021.

Mayor Marchand, then relatively little known, had managed to attract an outgoing Équipe Labeaume advisor, Pierre-Luc Lachance, to his new party. This recruitment had given new life to candidate Marchand’s campaign.

For the moment, none of the advisors met by Mr. Hamad would intend to leave their training to make the jump with the former minister, but many things could change within a year and a half.

“There is an interest, I’m thinking about it, that’s for sure,” Sam Hamad simply said to The Press Tuesday. “But I don’t confirm anything. The municipal elections are in a year and a half. In politics, six months is a long time. »

The man did not want to name the elected officials he met, nor the content of the discussions. However, he confirms that they took place “at [sa] request or at their request”.

A hidden campaign

For months, the former deputy for Louis-Hébert – a constituency now held by Geneviève Guilbault – seems to be leading a latent campaign for mayor of Quebec, multiplying barbs towards Mayor Marchand, denouncing the lack of major projects in the capital and what he describes as poor economic growth.

A year ago, Mr. Hamad unveiled his transportation plan for the capital: a third bridge to the west, the addition of a lane on the Pierre-Laporte bridge and the privatization of the ferry service between Quebec and Levi’s.

I feel that Quebec is deteriorating.

Sam Hamad, on the airwaves of FM93, last Thursday

The mayor of Quebec also invited him the same day to enter the race once and for all. Mayor Marchand’s entourage suggests that the candidacy of the former minister in Jean Charest’s government does not frighten him, and could even be beneficial to the outgoing mayor.

“I wish Sam Hamad would show up. You can’t have a better demonstration of what the city was and what the city can be between two politicians. So let him come. We will have a great campaign,” said Mayor Marchand on Thursday, during a press briefing reported in particular by The sun.

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PHOTO EDOUARD PLANTE-FRÉCHETTE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

The mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand

The suspense will probably last a little longer. Pierre Poilievre’s conservatives even probed Mr. Hamad’s interest in running for them, according to Radio-Canada. The main person concerned neither denied nor confirmed.

One thing is certain, Bruno Marchand’s star has faded since the start of his mandate among voters, if the polls are to be believed. Remember that the man won the town hall to everyone’s surprise in November 2021 by only 834 votes. Its satisfaction rate jumped to 67% in 2022, according to a Léger-The newspaperto fall to 47% in November 2023, mid-term.

Mr. Marchand has already announced his intention to seek a second term. The leader of the official opposition, Claude Villeneuve, is still thinking. The father of two young children hesitates to enter the race for reasons of work-family balance.

Who is Sam Hamad?

Member of Parliament for Louis-Hébert for 14 years, Sam Hamad was a minister in the governments of Jean Charest and Philippe Couillard.

The engineer by training has held several ministries and was responsible for the Capitale-Nationale.

Mr. Hamad has never been defeated in his constituency. Instead, he resigned in April 2017 to return to the private sector.

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